Deadline extended: CFP: Graduate Student Conference: "Converging Narratives" (deadline: January 30, 2017: conference date: March 31-April 1, 2017: Chicago, IL)

Christina Mekonen's picture
Call for Papers
January 30, 2017
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Graduate Studies, Literature, Film and Film History, Contemporary History

The graduate students of the departments of Germanic Studies, Slavic and

Baltic Languages and Literatures and Hispanic and Italian Studies at the

University of Illinois at Chicago are pleased to announce their second

interdisciplinary graduate student conference:


Converging Narratives:

Besieged and Transgressive Bodies

March 31 and April 1, 2017

Chicago, IL


Keynote Speakers: Emily Esperanza, Video Artist and Director.

Prof. Mimi Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


The interdisciplinary graduate student conference, “Converging Narratives: Besieged and Transgressive Bodies,” will focus on the motif of the body, bodily experiences, and representations of the politicized body in literature and visual arts. Regardless of how they are conceived – as suffering flesh and psyche or embodied subjectivities and collectives – bodies remain the locus and subjects of theory, action, affect, and art. In the context of our technological age, it seems that bodies should be brought together and yet fissures in this rapprochement are continuously revealed. This affects considerations of how bodies of all types are represented, theorized, studied, and transformed in a period of transition. It is necessary to ask the intellectual community: where do gender and ideology intersect when we speak of ‘the body’? How do visual artists represent the complexities of the embodied self? Or, how can writers, performers, or musicians do so? How does the idea of the ‘taboo’ impact self-perception? How can this taboo be articulated within the arts? How is sexual identity articulated by and in the body or in the arts? What happens when the ‘body’ conflicts with the ‘mind’? How do (consensual or non-consensual) body modifications silence the body, or allow it to ‘talk’?

And how might we revive the centrality of the body within the “body politic” in an age defined by the virtual?


While all proposals on the topic are welcome, we will organize panels employing diverse tools to investigate:

  • Binary conception of body and mind/ thought
  • Gendered and racialized bodies
  • (Dis)abled bodies
  • Trans experience and its representation
  • Decaying older bodies, perceptions of them
  • Limits of the body
  • Objectification of the body
  • Conceptions of bodies and communities
  • Body and identity
  • The space of the body: migration and frontier
  • Spatial relations among bodies and alternative understandings of space
  • Masculinities and femininities in the age of the posthuman
  • Cyborgs, androids and humanoids: bodies and technology
  • Embodiment and the text: writing the flesh
  • Desire, erotica and pornography: bodies to transgress
  • The body of politics, the politics of the body
  • Biopolitics and biopower

Instead of traditional panels, this conference will be held in the form of workshops; papers will be distributed beforehand, and instead of reading the paper, we will give an overview and discuss our research together based on the topic of the panel. We strongly encourage proposals submitted by graduate students from all disciplines including, but not limited to, any field in the Literary Studies, Sociology, Film Studies, Art and Architecture, Gender and Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, and History. We also welcome dance, theatrical, literary, and cinematic contributions. Please submit a mini vita (no longer than 50 words) and an abstract (no longer than 300 words) for a 15 minute presentation to no later than January 30, 2017. Pre-constituted panels of 3 or 4 papers are also welcome.